Environmental justice

Arctic climate change case studies using indigenous knowledge

This is Section 3.4 of the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment
Lead Authors: Henry Huntington, Shari Fox; Contributing Authors: Fikret Berkes, Igor Krupnik; Case Study Authors are identified on specific case studies; Consulting Authors: Anne Henshaw,Terry Fenge, Scot Nickels, Simon Wilson

Indigenous perspectives on the changing Arctic vary widely over time and space, as may be expected given the differences between the histories, cultures, ways of life, social and economic situations, geographical locations, and other characteristics of the many peoples of the region. These perspectives cannot be illustrated by generalizations nor, in the space allotted and with the materials currently available, comprehensively for the entire Arctic. The case studies used in the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment were chosen as illustrations of indigenous perspectives on climate change, and were drawn from the limited number of studies that have been done on this and related topics. Such a sample of opportunity inevitably results in such omissions as the lack of indigenous fishers’ voices and the absence of case studies across most of the Russian Arctic. Also, it is important to note that climate change cannot be separated neatly from the many factors that affect the relationship of people with their environment. Many of the observations and interpretations given in the case studies reflect an interaction among climate change and other factors, rather than being the result of climate change in isolation.

Each of the case studies comes from an existing project, whose researchers were willing to contribute material to the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment. The formats for the case studies vary greatly and were chosen by the authors to reflect the type of material they gathered and the way in which the study was conducted. It was felt that the resulting inconsistencies in style were preferable to imposing a uniform approach to very different materials generated in very different ways. Of course, each study is selective in that it cannot cover all that a given people or community has to say about climate change. The case studies describe those aspects of climate change and related topics that the authors and the communities represented find most significant. Figure 3.3 shows the locations of the case studies discussed in the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment.

The projects from which the case studies are drawn have, in most cases, produced a separate report or reports elsewhere, which contain more thorough discussions of methods, approaches, and results. Also, they acknowledge the support that was required from funding agencies, collaborators, and, most importantly, indigenous communities and people in conducting and reporting each study.

In addition to the longer case studies presented in the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment, three short case studies were included to give perspectives from other parts of the Arctic or to emphasize a particular point of view. The Greenland case study (Section 3.4.6) and the second case study from Finland (Section 3.4.8) are drawn from interviews with individuals. The Aleut case study (Section 3.4.2) describes the background and plans for a project to be carried out in the village of Nelson Lagoon, Alaska, with additional observations from other communities in the region. As is the case for the longer case studies, the three short case studies are illustrative rather than representative, and are given as examples.


caption Fig. 3.3. Locations of case studies.


3.1. Introduction
3.2. Indigenous knowledge
3.3. Indigenous observations of climate change
3.4. Case studies:
3.4.1. Northwest Alaska: the Qikiktagrugmiut
3.4.2. The Aleutian and Pribilof Islands region, Alaska
3.4.3. Arctic Athabaskan Council: Yukon First Nations
3.4.4. Denendeh: the Dene Nation’s Denendeh Environmental Working Group
3.4.5. Nunavut
3.4.6. Qaanaaq, Greenland
3.4.7. Sapmi: the communities of Purnumukka, Ochejohka, and Nuorgam
3.4.8. Climate change and the Saami
3.4.9. Kola: the Saami community of Lovozero
3.5. Indigenous perspectives and resilience
3.6. Further research needs
3.7. Conclusions








Committee, I. (2012). Arctic climate change case studies using indigenous knowledge. Retrieved from http://www.eoearth.org/view/article/51cbecf67896bb431f68ecb7


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